Great golf field at Athletic Club ... Rotary Club tennis returns

Top fields at Atlanta Athletic Club

Defending champion Brookstone leads an elite field of 18 of the top boys teams in the state at the High School Invitational hosted by the Atlanta Athletic Club on Monday. It’s a rare opportunity for high school teams to compete on the club’s Highland Course, which has hosted three PGA Championships, a U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur.

Brookstone, Marist and Westminster all won state championships last year. The remaining teams are among the best in the state: Harrison, Colquitt County, Lambert, Kell, Johns Creek, Gainesville, Holy Innocents’, Woodward Academy, North Atlanta, Greater Atlanta Christian, Lovett, Wesleyan, Athens Academy and South Carolina powers Wilson Hall and Bishop England.

Ben Shipp of GAC won last year’s championship by shooting a 68, which included a birdie on the dramatic closing hole.  Marist’s Jack Larkin, now at Georgia, was the runner-up.

Shipp, now a junior, is among the top players in the field. He’s joined by other top guns like Gainesville’s Spencer Ralston, Brett Barron of Lambert (an Atlanta Athletic Club member), and Will Chandler of Marist, the GSGA Junior Champion.

There is no team division for girls, but there is an individual competition for an elite group on the club’s Riverside Course, which hosted the U.S. Women’s Open and was used during the 2014 U.S. Amateur.

The girls field is headlined by Bailey Tardy of Norcross, a Georgia signee who is the club champion at the Athletic Club.  Other top players include: Rachel Dai of Cambridge, who has signed with Penn; Anna Buchanan of Athens Academy, who has signed with Samford;  and Kayley Marschke of Lambert, a junior who has committed to Auburn.

Tardy won the inaugural Girls Invitational last year by shooting a 2-under 70. Dai and Sabrina Long of Cambridge were second and third last year.

Rotary Club Tournament draws strong field

The 35th Rotary Club of Buckhead Tennis Tournament, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the state, will be held Friday and Saturday.

There will be 12 boys and 12 girls high school teams, divided into two divisions. Each team will play one match on Friday and three round-robin matches on Saturday. Last year’s tournament was rained out, so there are no defending champions.

Boys teams in the field are (Division A) Westminster, Roswell, Chattahoochee, St. Pius, Johns Creek, Norcross, (Division B) Pace Academy, McIntosh, Athens Academy, Lovett, Harrison and Christ Episcopal (S.C.).

Girls teams in the field are (Division A) Westminster, Chattahoochee, Johns Creek, McIntosh, Lovett, Baylor (Tenn.) and (Division B) St. Pius, Pace Academy, Woodward Academy, Norcross, Athens Academy and Girls Prep (Tenn.).

Matches will be played at Westminster, Lovett, and the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center.

“It is a pretty big tournament,” Westminster coach Wade Boggs. “There are some of the best teams from Georgia and the surrounding states. It comes late in the season and it’s a nice tuneup for the region tournament.”